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Book picks for the modern-minded woman

“#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso

FARGO – Move over, “Lean In.” There are some new requisite books lining women’s shelves.

Just this past year, several female authors have released titles covering themes similar to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg’s best-seller.

But not all books for the modern woman are from the past couple of years. Some of these suggestions from influential women in the community date back to the late 1990s.

As they show, there’s much to be learned from women in all time periods and from all walks of life.

Here are eight picks to encourage, inspire and entertain:

“#GIRLBOSS” by Sophia Amoruso (2014).

“#GIRLBOSS” has been generating a lot of buzz in the media and among 20- and 30-somethings. In it, the author, a 29-year-old CEO, shares how she built a $100 million company from her rough beginnings and with little formal education.

She dishes out straightforward advice about how to get what you want in life without losing your sense of self.

“You don’t get taken seriously by asking someone to take you seriously. You’ve got to show up and own it. If this is a man’s world, who cares? I’m still really glad to be a girl in it,” Amoruso writes.

“Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder” by Arianna Huffington (2014).

Kristi Huber, United Way Cass-Clay’s resource development director who’s always on the lookout for new material for the nonprofit’s 35 Under 35 women’s leadership program, adds “Thrive” to the list.

“It’s perfect because it talks about finding the balance for busy, driven and professional women in today’s world. We all struggle to find the balance in life so that we can actually enjoy it! This is a fantastic resource,” she says.

“The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance – What Women Should Know” by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman (2014).

“The Confidence Code” is a favorite of Dr. Susan Mathison, AreaVoices blogger, Forum columnist and founder of Fargo’s Catalyst Medical Center, because, she says, confidence is “the absolute KEY” to women’s ability to succeed.

“I ponder why we subtly start to question ourselves way back in junior high, and how that really holds many of us back. Even powerful, successful women have struggles with confidence,” Mathison says.

“Body of Work: Finding the Thread That Ties Your Story Together” by Pamela Slim (2013).

Mathison also recommends “Body of Work” from Slim, a speaker at Thursday’s TEDxFargo event, “On Purpose.”

“This book is about appreciating and understanding the journey of your contributions to the world and how to find the common theme that illuminates your life purpose,” Mathison says.

“The Good Girls Revolt: How the Women of Newsweek Sued Their Bosses and Changed the Workplace” by Lynn Povich (2012).

“The Good Girls Revolt” topped Tina Brown’s list of books for modern women when NPR asked her for recommendations a couple years ago.

In it, Povich recounts the class-action lawsuit she and 45 other Newsweek women filed against the magazine in 1970 because, at the time, it only allowed its female employees to work as researchers and fact-checkers, not writers and editors.

Brown, the founder of news website The Daily Beast, said: “Here was Newsweek, which was on the vanguard of writing about civil rights, about liberal causes, and in fact their own culture was so kind of adamantly ‘Mad Men.’ ”

“Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain (2012).

Josie Danz, manager of downtown Fargo’s Zandbroz Variety, says “Quiet” is one of the few books that changed her life.

The author, a former Wall Street lawyer and self-described introvert, explores how introversion has come to be scorned in our culture and how introverts have felt pressured to conform to a more extroverted lifestyle.

Danz, who also considers herself an introvert, says it’s a must-read for introverts and extroverts alike.

“Though the personal application will differ, I suspect many people will come away having learned more than they expected, if not about themselves, then about those close to them,” Danz says.

“Loving What Is: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell (2003).

Darcy Simonson, a Fargo-based writer, artist and entrepreneur, picked “Loving What Is.”

“Its focus is to shift the way we think about a problem so that we are not consumed by it,” she says. “It is, after all, not the problem that causes our suffering, but the way that we think about it.”

“Lost Bird of Wounded Knee: Spirit of the Lakota” by Renee Sansom Flood (1998).

Susan Helgeland, former executive director of Mental Health America of North Dakota, looks further in the past for female inspiration.

“Lost Bird” is the true story of a Lakota woman from South Dakota.

“It taught me much about prejudice against our Native American friends as well as the history of the Lakota,” she says. “It also taught me perseverance, which is a quality I am always trying to reach at a higher level.”

Meredith Holt

Meredith Holt is a features/business reporter for The Forum who covers topics in health, mental health, social issues, women's issues, arts and entertainment, food and more. She also writes a column on health and wellness, body image and media representationShe was a copy editor/page designer for six years prior to joining the features team in March 2012.

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